Francium Element: Description, Properties, Uses & Facts

Francium Element: Description, Properties, Uses & Facts

Exploring the Enigmatic Francium: A Rare and Radioactive Element


In the vast realm of the periodic table, there exists a hidden gem known as francium. This elusive element, with the symbol Fr and atomic number 87, holds a special place due to its scarcity and intriguing properties. Join us on a journey to unravel the mysteries surrounding francium, from its discovery to its chemical characteristics and potential applications.

Discovery and Origin:

Francium was discovered in 1939 by French chemist Marguerite Perey. She isolated this highly radioactive element from uranium ore and named it after her homeland, France. With an atomic number of 87 and a Latin name derived from "Francia," francium is an alkali metal, belonging to Group 1 of the periodic table.

Chemical Description:

Latin name: Francium

Symbol: Fr

Atomic Mass: 87

Atomic Number: 223 u

Electron configuration short: [Rn] 7s1

Electron configuration long form: 1s2 2s2 2p6 3s2 3p6 3d10 4s24p6 4d10 4f14 5s2 5p6 5d10 6s2 6p6 7s1

Valence Electron: 1

Valency: 1

Position in the Periodic Table:

Francium resides in Group 1 (alkali metals) and Period 7 of the periodic table. It shares similarities with its neighboring elements, such as cesium and rubidium, in terms of chemical properties.

Chemical and Physical Properties:

1. Radioactivity: Francium is highly radioactive, and its most stable isotope, francium-223, has a half-life of only about 22 minutes.

2. Color and State: In its natural state, francium is predicted to be a silvery-white metal, assuming a solid form at room temperature.

3. Melting and Boiling Points: Due to its scarcity and short half-life, precise measurements of the melting and boiling points are challenging. However, estimates suggest that francium's properties resemble those of other alkali metals.

Francium Compounds:

Given its extreme rarity and radioactivity, francium compounds are challenging to study. The most common compounds involve francium in its +1 oxidation state, similar to other alkali metals.

Chemical Reactions:

Francium reacts vigorously with water, producing hydrogen gas and a solution of francium hydroxide. Its reactivity is a consequence of its desire to lose its outermost electron to achieve a stable configuration.

Occurrence and Production:

Francium is one of the rarest elements on Earth, with estimated quantities in the Earth's crust ranging from a few grams to a maximum of 30 grams at any given time. It is primarily formed through the decay of other radioactive elements, such as actinium and radium.

Uses and Facts:

Due to its scarcity, short half-life, and intense radioactivity, francium has limited practical applications. However, its properties make it a subject of scientific curiosity and research, contributing to our understanding of atomic structure and radioactivity.


In the realm of the periodic table, francium stands as a captivating element, challenging scientists to unlock its secrets. From its discovery in the 20th century to its fleeting existence in nature, francium continues to intrigue researchers and contribute to our understanding of the fundamental building blocks of matter. Although its practical applications are limited, the exploration of francium opens doors to new insights into the world of chemistry and physics.

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